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Old April 29th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #1
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Any problems with Carbon Fiber?

I have a couple of Gitzo G1325 carbon fiber tripods. My first one is for my photography equipment and I just LOVE it. It's as stable as a rock and extremely light for backpacking, etc.

I duplicated this for video, but I can't help but wonder if there are any pitfalls I should be aware of. I use the Gitzo G1380 "Fluid" head (Wow! What a head!), but is CF *too* light? It *seems* very rigid and stable, with no torquing during pans, but the head is heavier than the legs.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 02:44 PM   #2
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I've never had any problems with CF. I had a set of Sachtler sticks for about 8 years and now a set of Vintens. Zero problems in ten years using CF. Several years ago I ran into a fellow at a trade show who swore up and down he was allergic to CF and he couldn't use it (skin on his hands broke out). I prefer it to aluminum or wood. It's lighter and holds up better and has superior vibration dampening properties (in a few circumstances wood is better). The only draw back for most people is the expense.
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Old April 29th, 2003, 03:23 PM   #3
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I've never heard the allergy issue raised with respect to carbon fiber. It would seem to me that it would be one of the most innocuous materials possible, but I suppose that manufacturing processes might introduce some other chemical. These days it seems there's nothing that someone somewhere is not sensitive to.

Brendan, yes, cf is very rigid and dampens vibration much better than metal and approximately on par with most hardwoods. The fact that it's manufactured as more of a twisted fabric, rather than a homogenous or crystalline structure accounts for much of that benefit. The only negative I know if is cf's propensity to shatter like glass when badly overstressed. I doubt that this would ever be an issue in, say, a tripod but I've seen cf rods shatter (in other applications) and it's spectacular...and dangerous. They give no warning and produce a spray of small shards as sharp as glass.
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Old May 5th, 2003, 08:25 AM   #4
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Hey BG, GB here... after you hooked me up with that 1380 head I guess you should expect to see my name following you for a while. I'm very thankful.

I actually debated getting HEAVIER legs after mounting my 1380. Please post a follow-up to this and tell us what happens with CF legs and this head.

With my 1345 legs (6lbs) I notice that if I'm a little "haphazard" with a pan that you can see a slight "bump" from the legs lifting a tad. This is of course EASILY remedied by either 1) splaying the legs further apart 2) sandbags on leg bottoms, or eww, spreader 3) reduce pan tension on head 4) don't be an idiot and pan normally.

I went with option #4.

I do wonder what it's like panning a 1380 with 40% less leg weight under it though? So how was it?
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Old May 5th, 2003, 08:33 AM   #5
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Instead of a ground level spreader (eww) use a mid-level spreader. It helps pans a lot and makes the tripod much sturdier. However, I'm not sure that the Gitzo's will accommodate a mid-level spreader.
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Old May 5th, 2003, 08:53 AM   #6
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One thing with carbon fibre is its strength and rigidity. However, it does not take well to impact. Having spent 8 years working on F/A 18 fighter jets, the majority of its external surfaces including the wings are made of carbon fibre, I have seen just how much damage even dropping a screwdriver can do. Its not as critical with tripods but tripods tend to take a beating during handling. If you do go with CF tripod, this is just one thing to keep in mind.
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Old May 5th, 2003, 10:45 AM   #7
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<<<-- I do wonder what it's like panning a 1380 with 40% less leg weight under it though? So how was it? -->>>


Hey GB,

Well, I haven't really used it much yet. In fact I just got the 75mm G1422 bowl for the G1325 Friday. I was worried because of the size of the head versus the lightweight CF G1325 'pod. But Gitzo does sell this combination together (the 1380 + 1325"V") so I figured it must work.

I'll keep you posted and will even post a photo.
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Old May 5th, 2003, 07:35 PM   #8
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Hey BG, I put those stupid leg protector thingy's on my pod also. I don't recommend this to anyone. After deciding they looked really stupid I took them off... only to have an hour job of using Goo-Gone to remove the thick-stick residue the legs left. Ironically enough though I did leave the little Gitzo socky's on though... I'm not sure if they improve the pod. But when people see a tripod with 4-skin I think they take notice... hmm, maybe I'll eventually take that off also, but not until I get my $29.95 out of 'em...

Another $29.95 I spent that I wish I hadn't is for the Gitzo tripod carry strap... with the 1380 head a tripod strap is basically OUT. All the weight is at the head so the strap end's up carrying the pod "plumb"... or verticle to those of you NOT in construction.

If anybody wants to buy the strap from me for $25 shipped it's yours. I just got it from B&H this week but I'm not going to bother them with a return for such a small item. You can have the "socks" for another $15 and just buy one of those foam pipe insulation tubes from Home Depot or Lowe's... it's the SAME thing in the Gitzo kit and you have to cut it to length ANYWAY... If anyone wants this stuff it's brand new and you can email me at mgettemeier@earthlink.net

Hey BG I'm going to start another thread about an interesting item I stumbled across... but I don't want to say too much about it until I get one. Manfrotto makes it and it's called the "Magic Arm"... it is EXACTLY what I've been looking for to "boom" a shotgun and run the tripod/cam simultaneously... it's a goofy little item (about $100) that perfectly handles the jobs I've been trying to INVENT something to handle. I thought I had a million-dollar idea on my hands but once I started looking I found it's already being made by Manfrotto... if you use a shotgun and want it off cam but still controlled by your pod... the "Magic Arm" gives you the third arm you've been wanting. Check it out. (The "Super Clamp" is pretty much a neccessity with the "Magic Arm"... total outlay around $130 or less)
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Old May 5th, 2003, 08:15 PM   #9
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The magic arm has been discussed here before. It's been used for everything from your mic idea to holding cameras on bikes etc. It is very well built and will easily do the job. I bought mine in the mid 80's when they were about half that price, maybe less.
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